Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.…
I. DUTIES ENJOINED.
1. The duty of work. This is man's normal condition.
(1) For the soil's sake. Nature's capacities are latent as well as vast, and need the quickening, unfolding, marshalling power of a tireless, and skilful labour.
(2) For man's own sake. He who does not use his faculties is as though he had none. Indolence and barbarism go hand in hand.
(3) For God's sake. Stewardship.
2. The duty of rest. The seventh day is to be a day of rest for the body, jaded with the toils of the week: a day of rest for the mind, jaded with the cares of the week: a day of rest for the heart, jaded with the griefs of the week.
3. The duty of worship. "Keep it holy." The Sabbath, if I may so say, is God's weekly toll on mankind, the periodical tribute which He demands in token of human fealty.
II. REASON ASSIGNED.
1. Cessation of creative process.
2. The Creator's resting. Holy, blessed, festal contemplation.
3. The Creator's sanctification of the seventh day.
III. CHRIST'S DOCTRINE OF THE SABBATH (see Mark 2:23-28.)
1. Man himself is the basis of the Sabbath.
(1) He needs it — for his secular nature, alike bodily and mental;
(2) for his religious nature.
(3) What man needs, God has appointed.
2. Man is greater than the Sabbath. It is to be used as a means, not as an end. Man is more sacred than ordinances.
IV. TRUE METHOD OF KEEPING THE SABBATH. It is to be kept in such a way as will unfold man heavenward the most thoroughly, totally, symmetrically. The Sabbath being made for man, he must use it religiously; for the faculty of worship is man's chief definition. But full unfolding of man's spiritual nature is possible only in the sphere of edification — that is, society building. The Sabbath summons man to conjugate life in a new mood and tense; but still in the active voice. And here the Son of Man is our teacher and blessed model. No one truly keeps the Sabbath unless he keeps it as the Divine Man kept it: and He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. Indeed, I cannot conceive how a young man can unfold himself more thoroughly or symmetrically than by devoting himself vigorously to study during the week, and then setting apart Sunday as a day of restful worship, first praising God in His sanctuary, and then praising Him in works of mercy, visiting the sick, comforting the sorrowful, teaching the ignorant, reclaiming the outcast.
V. CHANGE OF DAY. Saturday was the Sabbath of nature, Sunday is the Sabbath of grace; Saturday the Sabbath of a rejected, executed, entombed Jesus, Sunday the Sabbath of a risen, exalted, triumphant Christ; Saturday Creator's day, Sunday Redeemer's day.
VI. Lastly: JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR SABBATH, ALIKE ITS ORIGIN, ITS MEANING, AND ITS END. In fact, the final cause of the Sabbath is to sabbatize each day and make all life sacramental. And Jesus Christ being our true Sabbath, Jesus Christ is also our true rest, even the spirit's everlasting Eden.
(G. D. Boardman.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.